Early Modern Crime and the Law

Cheshire Great Sessions: damaged documents

THE RAVAGES OF TIME

Bearing in mind that these records are 300 to 400 years old, most of them are in remarkably good condition. But sometimes, frequently because of poor storage conditions at some point in the past, they have suffered damage. Paper documents in particular (parchment is tougher, which is why it was generally used for the more official documents such as indictments) may have got torn (they can become especially fragile along folds), or have begun to to disintegrate, even become mouldy and rotted away. Ink can fade to the point of illegibility, although in such cases the original writing can often still be read under special lamps. These are just a few examples.


PRO CHES 24/127/1: Depositions, 1648

damaged seventeenth-century document
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PRO CHES 38/41/1: Deposition, 1716

damaged eighteenth-century document
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PRO CHES 38/41/1: Depositions, ?1560s

badly damaged sixteenth-century documents
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